I got a copy of The Writers Toolbox for my birthday, as a way to help my creative mind. So, as I thought I needed a bit of a break (kids, wife and dog are asleep) I'd give it a go.
It's just what came out and onto "paper"! I've not edited it, tidied up or made it flow nicely. It kind of does, but it would need work to make real sense. It's actually given me a great idea for a story!
FS = First Sentence (highlighted in bold)
NS = Non-sequitur (highlighted in bold)
LS = Last Straw (highlighted in bold)
SS = Sixth sense, supposed to bring out feelings
PS. This is copyright now, so don't go getting any ideas! ;-)
He swore on his mother's grave, but then he swore on just about everything. Max looked intently at Karen.
"I promise! If swearing isn't enough, what else is there?" he said.
"I guess there's nothing but to take your word for it then," Karen said gritting her teeth and wincing at the thought of what was about to happen.
"Now what ever you do, don't let go."
"Yeah, cos that's the first thing that comes to mind!" she said.
Max gripped Karen firmly by the hand and stepped from the ledge overlooking the Hoover dam below them. Karen squeezed his hand hard and shut her eyes as tight as they would possibly go. Her faith in Max's promise was justified. Rather than falling to their deaths, they were lifted as though feathers on the breeze.
"Shit!" Karen cried as she opened her eyes and looked down on the river and rushing water far below them.
"See I told you," he said smugly.
"You couldn't have just shown me that you could fly, you had to make me crap myself!"
She may be young, but she's not stupid, Max thought. Karen had followed him around at school like a lost puppy. She knew there was something about him that she just couldn't work out and she had to know what it was. The way Max seemed to move, his effortless motion, that was what drew her to him. At first Max was annoyed, some young girl doting on him. Then it became sweet. Eventually they spent time talking and became the best of friends.
"I wish you had shown me this sooner," Karen said over the sound of rushing air. Max had taken them higher and the valley view below was spectacular. Karen had been in a helicopter before, her father being a pilot in the army had taken her up in the past. Being in the air without the sound or vibration of the helicopter engines was an indescribable feeling.
"What do you think?" Max asked. Having finally given in to his personal trepidation about anyone knowing about his ability, he felt more relaxed and himself than ever before in his life.
"It is amazing. Scary as fuck, but amazing!"
She was standing behind the counter, giving him this root beer-float kind of smile.
"Hey Max," Karen said beaming from ear to ear. "The usual?"
"Sure, whipped cream too if there is any," Max said.
Karen had not stopped smiling since their trip down the Hoover dam yesterday. She hardly slept all night, writing in her journal about the amazing man that Max was. He had pleaded with her not to tell anyone, for fear of what might happen to him. Everything Hollywood had told him about people with super-powers scared him out of his wits. If it wasn't the secret identity, or the persecution of those with abilities, it was the sheer terror that he would have to find a purpose in all of this and do something with it.
I'm just a kid, he'd told himself. Can't I just be a kid and deal with this later?
Karen set the root beer-float down on the counter in front of him, snapping him out of his daydream.
"So where are we going tonight?" she asked him.
"Shhh, keep your voice down," Max replied sternly.
"Why, don't people go out these days?"
"Sorry, I thought you meant - you know," and indicated towards the ceiling with his eyes.
"He was skating on thin ice - that's all I can say," said a large built man dressed in a army uniform to a colleague as they walked in the door of the diner.
"Hey dad," Karen said to her father when she saw him.
"Hi sweetheart," he replied. He turned and addressed his colleague, "See to it that you find out exactly what they saw. And keep it quite for Christ's sake."
"Yes General," the soldier replied, saluted and took his leave.
General Taylor walked over to the counter in front of his daughter and put his hat down. She leant over to give him a kiss, but her father wasn't overly keen on public displays of affection. He reluctantly leant over, as Karen stood on tip toes waiting and kissed her on the cheek.
"Doesn't that feel better," she said, knowing full well it embarrassed him. A two star general, being embarrassed, she thought it was hilarious.
"Dad, this is Max. He's a friend from school. He's been helping me with my math,"
"Sir," Max said straightening up and putting out his had to shake.
The General stood and looked at him with a dead-straight face, no sign of emotion at all. Max swallowed hard and started to sweat. Did he know something about him? Did he make people who got close to his daughter disappear?
The General was thinking, "Does he know about the thing she did to the brakes on the Honda?" He decided that he'd made him stew long enough and shook Max's hand. Max visibly relaxed and started breathing again. There was no evidence, but the General suspected that Karen had tampered with the brakes on the Honda belonging to Jake, a fellow student who had been harassing her at school. She had reported it of course, but nothing had been done about it for months.
One day, Karen confronted Jake at school when he was being particularly unpleasant towards her and people say she made some threat about him dying horribly in his penis-mobile, that was what a lot of people called his Honda.
He was found dead at the bottom of a gorge the next morning. The investigation say the brakes failed, but apart from some wild accusations, nothing was proved. The General had kept an eye on Karen since, and for a whole year she seemed to have been fixated on the teenager who now stood in front of him. Max.
"So Max, I appreciate you helping Karen with her studies. You are in your final year aren't you?"
"Yes sir, I am."
Karen wondered how her father knew anything about Max at all, as they'd only just met.
"Dad, can I have a word with you for a minute?"
"Sure thing sweetheart - Max," he said fixing Max with a quick stare before walking towards the end of the counter where Karen was waiting for him.
"You've been spying on me haven't you," she exclaimed as loudly and as quietly as she could.
"For your own protection sweetheart. Since the thing with Jake -"
"There was no thing with Jake. I didn't do anything to the bloody car!" She said this a little loudly towards the end and drew the looks of a few people sitting in booths eating breakfast.
SS (the smell of fresh mint)
She looked around at those eating and for a moment lost herself in the smells from the kitchen. Pancakes with cinnamon, iced teas with mint that reminded her of her mothers garden. She missed her mother so much. Karen was only eight when her mother died, killed by a drunk driver. The one smell that reminded her so much of her mother, oddly, was mint. The summer herb garden was always fresh with it. Normal mint, lemon mint and some other kind that just became mint in her memory.
SS (someone's red leather journal)
For a moment she found herself standing outside her own body, looking back at herself arguing with her father. Although she could see what was happening, she realised everything was in an almost perfect balance of black and white. Like looking at an old silent movie.
She looked around, lost in the lightness she felt from the detachment of her mind and body; someone sitting at the counter drinking coffee, Max pretending not to listen to her fighting with her father.
And as if from nowhere a dash of colour dazzled her, not in its brightness, but in its bold intense redness. A booth at the far end of the room stood out and she could now see the book or perhaps a journal laying on the table in front of the man enjoying his morning coffee.
SS (the sound of the dishwasher)
Hurriedly walking towards the beacon of colour, she felt as if she was loosing a grip on this reality. As unreal as this view of her world seemed, the reality she felt herself being drawn back to now felt as equally unreal. It felt like she was dreaming, walking through treacle to get to that damn journal. Sounds started to bleed back into her mind, the drone of the dishwasher, the clinking of glasses and cups. The horrible prrftt noise the coffee machine makes when you froth the milk.
She found him in the Terminal Bar and Grill. He was sober, for a change. In the year since Karen and Max had run away together, things had become strained between them. Their relationship blossomed, initially. Passion and romance gave way to confusion and fear.
Max had started to drink, for reasons a plenty. They had discovered that Karen's father had been keeping very close tabs on both Karen and Max since they met. They were convinced that it had something to do with Max's ability, but they found it hard to accept at first.
"Why did you leave like that last night?" she asked him, sitting next to him and putting her hand on his.
"You know why. You promised you wouldn't do it again," he said staring at a scotch on the rocks in front of him.
Karen removed her hand slowly and looked down at it. "I can't always control it. You know that."
"But you are aware when you start, you can stop if you try. At least try," he pleaded without looking up from his untouched scotch.
"I wish it were as simple. You can control your ability, mine is - it's not me, at least that's what it feels like," she tried to explain again. They had had the conversation before, it never makes much sense.
"Can I get you a drink miss," said the tall bar man as he wiped the bar top in front of them.
Can I get you out of that top and into my - The bar man froze and locked eyes with Karen. His mind was suddenly not his own and he was very aware that he was bearing down on his subconscious for the comment she was not supposed to hear. It was tucked away inside his mind after all.
They were all the same, she decided. Men were men, they all had the same primordial thoughts. She could just see them now. Just like Max had kept his ability hidden from the world, Karen had begun to discover a secret she had not realised she was keeping until that morning in the diner with her father.
The black and white world she witnessed, was an amalgamation of peoples thoughts and feelings projected into a reality that she could move around in and later discover, manipulate to some degree.
The bar man was released from Karen's mind, berated suitably and came back with her lemonade and lime moments later.
"See, you did it again didn't you?" Max said. "What did he think? Or did you just plant the idea of your drink in his mind for fun?" Max picked up his drink and took a large swig.
Note: To late to write any more but I got "the day Lillian learned to drive"